Speaking publicly for the first time about the issue, Joe Gibbs on Sunday thanked the NASCAR community for its support and asked for continued prayers for his son J.D., who is receiving treatment for issues dealing with brain function.
Gibbs spoke several minutes prior to Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway but took no questions.
“Basically what the doctors say to you is that they just really don’t know,” Gibbs said of the reasons for his son’s speech and processing issues. “J.D. has lived a very active lifestyle.
“All the things he’s done in his life, physically he’s loved all sporting events and it’s everything from football to snowboarding to racing cars, racing motorbikes. We can’t point to any one serious thing that happened to him.”
Joe Gibbs Racing issued a statement Wednesday on J.D. Gibbs’ condition but it did not assign any specific diagnosis to the issue. Joe Gibbs did not elaborate much more.
J.D. Gibbs serves as team president and had a brief driving career in NASCAR in the late 1990s. He also played college football at William & Mary.
Joe Gibbs called J.D. his “hero.”
“I kind of watch him and I don’t know if anybody has ever dealt with anything as courageous as J.D. does,” he said.
“He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at (age) 2 and we fought through that for about three or four years.”
Joe Gibbs said J.D.’s symptoms have been present for about six months and his presence at the race track will be cut back.
“He has a full week that demands quite a bit from him as he goes through treatment,” Gibbs said. “He’ll be (at JGR) on a day-to-day basis with the race team and be in all of our meetings and all of the key decisions that we make.”
Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards, who joined the JGR organization this season, called J.D. “a really tough guy.”
“I had the chance to go in and talk with J.D. the other day and it’s just business as usual,” he said. “He’s working through everything and everybody is behind him 100 percent.”
Utter: 704-358-5113; Twitter: @jim_utter